Tech Briefs

A comprehensive library of technical briefs from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories covering all aspects of innovations in electronics, software, photonics, imaging, motion control, automation, sensors, test, materials, manufacturing, mechanical, and mechatronics.

Briefs : Software
BioNet Digital Communications Framework

BioNet v2 is a peer-to-peer middleware that enables digital communication devices to “talk” to each other. It provides a software development framework, standardized application, network-transparent device integration services, a flexible messaging model, and network communications for distributed...

Briefs : Software
Operation Program for the Spatially Phase-Shifted Digital Speckle Pattern Interferometer — SPS-DSPI

SPS-DSPI software has been revised so that Goddard optical engineers can operate the instrument, instead of data programmers. The user interface has been improved to view the data collected by the SPS-DSPI, with a real-time mode and a play-back...

Briefs : Software
Intelligent Patching of Conceptual Geometry for CFD Analysis

The iPatch computer code for intelligently patching surface grids was developed to convert conceptual geometry to computational fluid dynamics (CFD) geometry (see figure). It automatically uses bicubic B-splines to extrapolate (if necessary) each surface in a conceptual geometry so...

Briefs : Software
Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science

The Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science System (AEGIS) provides automated targeting for remote sensing instruments on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, which at the time of this reporting has had two rovers exploring the surface of Mars (see figure). Currently,...

Briefs : Software
Space Images for NASA/JPL

Space Images for NASA/JPL is an Apple iPhone application that allows the general public to access featured images from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). A back-end infrastructure stores, tracks, and retrieves space images from the JPL Photojournal Web server, and catalogs the information into a streamlined rating...

Briefs : Software
Real-Time Feature Tracking Using Homography

This software finds feature point correspondences in sequences of images. It is designed for feature matching in aerial imagery. Feature matching is a fundamental step in a number of important image processing operations: calibrating the cameras in a camera array, stabilizing images in aerial movies,...

Briefs : Software
Stereo Imaging Tactical Helper

The Stereo Imaging Tactical Helper (SITH) program displays left and right images in stereo using the display technology made available by the JADIS framework, which was described in “JAVA Stereo Display Toolkit,” NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 32, No. 4 (April 2008), page 63. An overlay of the surface described by the...

Briefs : Software
XMbodyinfo

XMbodyinfo was designed to evaluate potential reference trajectories, providing a proficient way to assess the quality of all satellite body flybys for a Cassini type mission tour. It is autonomous and will generate a variety of ORS (optical remote sensing) and FPW (fields, particles, and waves) plots that aid in the evaluation,...

Briefs : Software
Sparse Superpixel Unmixing for Hyperspectral Image Analysis

Software was developed that automatically detects minerals that are present in each pixel of a hyperspectral image. An algorithm based on sparse spectral unmixing with Bayesian Positive Source Separation is used to produce mineral abundance maps from hyperspectral images. A...

Briefs : Software
NAIF Toolkit — Extended

The Navigation Ancillary Information Facility (NAIF) at JPL, acting under the direction of NASA’s Office of Space Science, has built a data system named SPICE (Spacecraft Planet Instrument C-matrix Events) to assist scientists in planning and interpreting scientific observations (see figure). SPICE provides geometric...

Briefs : Software
Systems Maintenance Automated Repair Tasks (SMART)

SMART is a uniform automated discrepancy analysis and repair-authoring platform that improves technical accuracy and timely delivery of repair procedures for a given discrepancy (see figure a). SMART will minimize data errors, create uniform repair processes, and enhance the existing knowledge...

Briefs : Software
Centralized Alert-Processing and Asset Planning for Sensorwebs

A software program provides a Sensorweb architecture for alert-processing, event detection, asset allocation and planning, and visualization (see figure). It automatically tasks and re-tasks various types of assets such as satellites and robotic vehicles in response to alerts (fire,...

Briefs : Software
Support for Systematic Code Reviews With the SCRUB Tool

SCRUB is a code review tool that supports both large, team-based software development efforts (e.g., for mission software) as well as individual tasks. The tool was developed at JPL to support a new, streamlined code review process that combines human-generated review reports with...

Briefs : Software
Planning and Execution for an Autonomous Aerobot

The Aerial Onboard Autonomous Science Investigation System (AerOASIS) system provides autonomous planning and execution capabilities for aerial vehicles (see figure). The system is capable of generating high-quality operations plans that integrate observation requests from ground planning teams,...

Briefs : Software
Real-Time Exponential Curve Fits Using Discrete Calculus

An improved solution for curve fitting data to an exponential equation (y = AeBt + C) has been developed. This improvement is in four areas — speed, stability, determinant processing time, and the removal of limits. The solution presented avoids iterative techniques and their...

Briefs : Software
Optimal Codes for the Burst Erasure Channel

Deep space communications over noisy channels lead to certain packets that are not decodable. These packets leave gaps, or bursts of erasures, in the data stream. Burst erasure correcting codes overcome this problem. These are forward erasure correcting codes that allow one to recover the missing gaps...

Briefs : Software
Short-Block Protograph-Based LDPC Codes

Short-block low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes of a special type are intended to be especially well suited for potential applications that include transmission of command and control data, cellular telephony, data communications in wireless local area networks, and satellite data communications. [In...

Briefs : Software
Situational Lightning Climatologies

Research has revealed distinct spatial and temporal distributions of lightning occurrence that are strongly influenced by large-scale atmospheric flow regimes. It was believed there were two flow systems, but it has been discovered that actually there are seven distinct flow regimes.

Briefs : Software
GOATS - Orbitology Component

The GOATS Orbitology Component software was developed to specifically address the concerns presented by orbit analysis tools that are often written as stand-alone applications. These applications do not easily interface with standard JPL first-principles analysis tools, and have a steep learning curve due to their...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Instrument for Measuring Thermal Conductivity of Materials at Low Temperatures

With the advance of polymer and other non-metallic material sciences, whole new series of polymeric materials and composites are being created. These materials are being optimized for many different applications including cryogenic and low-temperature industrial...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
A Safe, Self-Calibrating, Wireless System for Measuring Volume of Any Fuel at Non-Horizontal Orientation

A system for wirelessly measuring the volume of fluid in tanks at non-horizontal orientation is predicated upon two technologies developed at Langley Research Center. The first is a magnetic field response recorder that powers and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Multi-Axis Accelerometer Calibration System

A low-cost, portable, and simplified system has been developed that is suitable for in-situ calibration and/or evaluation of multi-axis inertial measurement instruments (e.g., accelerometers). This system overcomes facility restrictions and maintains or improves the calibration quality for users of...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Pupil Alignment Measuring Technique and Alignment Reference for Instruments or Optical Systems

A technique was created to measure the pupil alignment of instruments in situ by measuring calibrated pupil alignment references (PARs) in instruments. The PAR can also be measured using an alignment telescope or an imaging system. PAR allows the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Autonomous System for Monitoring the Integrity of Composite Fan Housings

A low-cost and reliable system assesses the integrity of composite fan-containment structures. The system utilizes a network of miniature sensors integrated with the structure to scan the entire structural area for any impact events and resulting structural damage, and to...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Advanced Flip Chips in Extreme Temperature Environments

The use of underfill materials is necessary with flip-chip interconnect technology to redistribute stresses due to mismatching coefficients of thermal expansion (CTEs) between dissimilar materials in the overall assembly. Underfills are formulated using organic polymers and possibly...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Adaptation of the Camera Link Interface for Flight-Instrument Applications

COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) hardware using an industry-standard Camera Link interface is proposed to accomplish the task of designing, building, assembling, and testing electronics for an airborne spectrometer that would be low-cost, but sustain the required data...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Performance CCSDS AOS Protocol Implementation in FPGA

The Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) Advanced Orbiting Systems (AOS) space data link protocol provides a framing layer between channel coding such as LDPC (low-density parity-check) and higher-layer link multiplexing protocols such as CCSDS Encapsulation Service,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Performance CCSDS Encapsulation Service Implementation in FPGA

The Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) Encapsulation Service is a convergence layer between lower-layer space data link framing protocols, such as CCSDS Advanced Orbiting System (AOS), and higher-layer networking protocols, such as CFDP (CCSDS File Delivery...

Briefs : Software
World Wide Web Metaphors for Search Mission Data

A software program that searches and browses mission data emulates a Web browser, containing standard metaphors for Web browsing. By taking advantage of back-end URLs, users may save and share search states. Also, since a Web interface is familiar to users, training time is reduced. Familiar back...

Briefs : Software
Phenological Parameters Estimation Tool

The Phenological Parameters Estimation Tool (PPET) is a set of algorithms implemented in MATLAB that estimates key vegetative phenological parameters. For a given year, the PPET software package takes in temporally processed vegetation index data (3D spatio-temporal arrays) generated by the time series...

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